The History of Notre Dame Catholic Parish in Denver
Just 61 years ago, the corner of Sheridan Boulevard and Evans Avenue no doubt looked quite different than it does today. To anyone driving by it probably was just a piece of ordinary Colorado prairie covered with buffalo grass, some scrub weeds, maybe an old discarded tire and a couple of beat-up old wooden planks. That driver might have looked at it and said to himself, “Nothing more than a vacant lot.”
But another driver, this time the Archbishop of Denver, Urban J. Vehr, drove by, took one look at the corner lot, and thought to himself that it could be more than vacant; it could be the home of God himself and the church of a new parish, a parish that was, eventually, to become Notre Dame .
It has taken Notre Dame Parish more than sixty years to get where we are today. The corner of Sheridan Boulevard and Evans Avenue has changed greatly, some parts several times, and so has Notre Dame Parish.
During its more than sixty years, Notre Dame has built a church, school, a rectory and convent, but nothing it has built is more lasting and/or more important than the strong Catholic community constructed in the lives of her parishioners and throughout the neighborhood streets of Harvey Park, Bear Creek, east Lakewood, and many others.
Highlights in History
- 1957 – August 14, Archbishop Urban J. Vehr, founds Notre Dame Catholic Parish. The first public parish Mass was celebrated that year on October 13. Father Koontz, the founding pastor, names the parish after his favorite college football team, Notre Dame, and its Fightin’ Irish.
- 1958 – First Mass offered in the new church — Midnight Mass
- 1966 – Notre Dame Catholic School 0pened
- 1968 – Father Koontz broke ground on the rectory that is today’s main office
- 1974 – Notre Dame Builds School Gymnasium
- 1994 – Notre Dame Church Renovation
- 2017 – Renovation of the former rectory into parish offices